Boca Grande and golf carts go together like Gasparilla Island and fishing tourneys.
It's not just a good fit. It's a great fit.
The ubiquitous golf cart is a stylish, economical way to tool around the island. Many of those sporty rides come from Thoroughbred Golf Carts.
Thoroughbred Golf Carts owner Bill Lutz sitting in the customized stretch club car listing for $15,000. The fake engine in front is actually a cooler.
"I would say we've got a good bit of business on Gasparilla Island," said Owner Bill Lutz, who took over Thoroughbred Golf Carts in 2005. "We don't have all of it by any means."
Thoroughbred Golf Carts survived the Great Recession because it's "a breed apart from the rest," he said.
"That's what our motto is," Lutz said. "We'll do a better job than you'll get anywhere else."
What: Thoroughbred Golf Carts
Owner: Bill Lutz
Where: 3301 Placida Road, Englewood
Why: sales, service, delivery and repair
Contact: tgcarts.com or call (941) 698-1010.
Lutz employs an 11-person staff, which includes his son, David, who manages the operation. The Westchester, N.Y., native started vacationing in Florida in 1993 and moved here full time in 2001.
Lutz said golf cart buyers should understand it's not like buying a car. Age doesn't really matter as much with gold carts, which can be reconditioned and revitalized affordably - unlike autos.
"Age isn't significant for golf carts," he said.
Battery care is key. Most batteries should last at least five years if cared for properly, he said, and some can nearly double that lifespan.
Golf cart price points start around $5,500 and, dependent upon options, can top $20,000.
Tips for buying a golf cart include making the following decisions:
Choose between four- and six-person carts. Two-person carts are just too small for most families, he said.
Choose colors, wheels and tires. These are the primary accessories but beware: They can add thousands to the purchase price.
Headlights and taillights are becoming standard but roofs - longer or shorter?
Choose an alternating current battery versus a direct current. AC delivers more power and dependability but at a cost of $3,000 more than DC, Lutz said. "Take AC unless money is an issue," Lutz said.
It takes just three days to two weeks to ready most golf cart orders. Thoroughbred Golf Carts will even store carts for snowbirds for $1.50 a day and prep charges. This year, TGC is storing about 80 golf carts for Gasparilla Island-area owners.
He believes this season will show measured improvement for his business.
"So far we're building a lot of carts," Lutz said. "I think the season will be improved."